A teenage boy in Braunton, Devon, who began sleeping in a tent to raise money for a local charity three years ago, this weekend finally decided to up sticks and come inside. Max Woosey, who has become known as ‘the Boy in the Tent’ will tonight sleep in a real bed and under a rigid roof for the first time since 29th March 2020.
Max started his colossal camp out after neighbour and family friend, Rick Abbott, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, gifted him his tent and told the then 13 year old to use it to have an adventure. Since then, Max has gone through 26 tents, endured storms, sub-zero temperatures, heatwaves, a bout of Covid and an encounter with former PM Boris Johnson. And, after initially setting out to raise £50, he has generated over £650,000 for the North Devon Hospice, which looked after Rick until he passed away.
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“I love camping, it’s one of my favourite things and I’m definitely going to miss it,” he told The Guardian. For his final night under canvas (for now), Max chose to attend a boutique festival at the South West’s sanctuary for the arts at Broomhill Estate in Devon, just 15 minutes from his house and garden, where the adventure began.
“My friend Rick was absolutely amazing,” Max explained, when talking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain about why he started - and continued - camping out. “He loved the outdoors, he loved sports and we got along really well.
“He gave me the tent and said: ‘Max, I want you to have an adventure in it.’ And I said: ‘I promise you I will.’ And, sadly, he died just before Covid of cancer. And the North Devon hospice just took brilliant care of him and I wanted to say thank you in the biggest way I could. So I started sleeping outside and I tried to raise as much money as I could for them.”
Stephen Roberts, chief executive of the North Devon hospice, told the BBC: “Max has directly funded 15 nurses for a whole year. The funds he raised for North Devon hospice in this time have made a real difference to the patients and families we support."
You can still contribute to Max’s incredible campaign to raise money for the hospice, via his Just Giving page.
Max has won support and applause from many well-known people during his campout, which saw him sleep on the pitch at Twickenham, in London Zoo and in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street.
The inspirational teen has given a Ted Talk, set a Guinness World Record (for raising money through camping) and been awarded a British Empire Medal, plus Pride of Britain, Spirit of Adventure and Bear Grylls Chief Scout Unsung Hero awards.